Ultima Online is reborn

Written by Joe Martin

August 30, 2007 // 2:25 p.m.

Tags: #avatar #british #ea #garriott #kingdom #mmo #online #reborn #rpg #sygian #ultima

MMOs are everywhere today it seems and, no sooner have I finished a story about one games seven day free trial then another comes along to top it.

Sigh.

Still, the 14 day free trial being offered by EA to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ultima Online isn't the biggest news about the game. Instead, it's all about the massive new update which the has just been applied to the game - an update so massive it's given the game a brand new subtitle.

Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn is an attempt to revamp the graphics of what many recognise as the first mainstream MMORPG game, as well as tweak many of the game systems to bring the ten year old back up to date. Think of it as the computer game version of cosmetic surgery and hip replacement.

The engine underneath the game has been completely replaced with EA Mythic's Warhammer Online engine, but the game is still kept isometric. Good thing too, to some of us RPG fans isometric viewpoints are the only way to play a game.

The interface has also undergone a facelift, making it more accessible to those who want to take advantage of that 14 day free trial. For those who are still playing the ageing classic though, the update is completely free and optional as EA has pledged to support the old client for at least another year.

The update is certainly a nice way to keep the game interesting until the eighth expansion pack, Stygian Abyss, hits later this year. The new expansion will unlock new classes, races and the largest single dungeon the virtual community has ever seen, though gamers will need to have the Kingdom Reborn update in order to play it.

Ever played the Ultima games? Think that makes you hardcore, eh? Pfft. Come back when you've spent 20 hours just trying to complete the Ultima-inspired minigame hidden in System Shock 2 - then we can talk in the forums.

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